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They are some of the most beloved employees in any school, typically waking up before dawn to serve up smiles along with fabulous food for breakfast and lunch. We’re talking about our amazing school lunch ladies and cafeteria workers.

On this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey heads to Fox Hollow Elementary School where he experiences first-hand what it’s like to be a lunch lady and which meal students love most for lunch.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today, we head to one of the happiest places anywhere. The school cafeteria. I decided it was time to try my hand in the kitchen to find out how cafeteria workers managed to serve up massive amounts of food, along with smiles in school cafeterias every single day. Find out if I made the grade with Lunch Manager, Kathy George at Fox hollow Elementary School.

I'm here with Kathy, the Lunch manager at Fox Hollow Elementary. Thanks for letting me come today, Kathy. I'm going to get my apron on so I'm legit. I thought about just turning my sport coat around the other way as an apron, but that might backfire. So the kids are looking at me with a little bit of suspicious, like who's this new lunch worker, but, I'll do my best. I'm fortunate enough to be here on pretzel and pizza day, which would be a magical day for me if I were in elementary school. So let's see what Kathy has me do.

Kathy:
Oh, first you got to wash your hands. That's the rules.

Superintendent:
All right. I'm all scrubbed in. Oh my hat. Oh, perfect. I'll put this hat on. As far as it'll go on my enormous head.

Kathy:
Gotta wear gloves to serve pizza or pretzels.

Superintendent:
Well, I'd like to serve pretzels because I get to ask them if they want cheese.

Kathy:
You guys get to be relieved. He's gonna serve pretzels.

Superintendent:
What's the size of your staff? Who else do you have involved?

Kathy:
There are eight of us.

Superintendent:
There's eight ladies. How long have you been in launch manager?

Kathy:
This is my third year, but I've worked a long time for the school district. This is my 21st year.

Superintendent:
All right. I'm trying to keep track of things here. I tried the cheese with the right hand. I forgot to ask her if she wanted cheese. I think she wants cheese. Would you like cheese? No cheese. Alright. I like your shirt, by the way. Stranger Things. You keep feeling the sense of accomplishment when you get through one group of kids and then there's always another group of kids.

Kathy:
Always, always. Sometimes it's out the door.

Superintendent:
I'm doing the cheese left-handed now. I'm going to be ready. Okay. No, that's okay. It's an extra challenge. Would you like some cheese? Alright. I am spilling this cheese all over the place. I'm really trying, but I'm kind of feeling the pressure. Do you have any tips for how I can do a better job?

Kathy:
I usually have them put the pull tray in a little closer and then you can put it on.

Superintendent:
Tricks of the trade. I'm already getting better now. Thank you. Hold on. You're tryin sweetheart. There you go.

Oh, just empty the tray. I did my first tray of pretzels. That feels like an accomplishment. I don't always feel the sense of accomplishment in the day, but I cleared a tray of pretzels. The kids waiting in line are not impressed. They're just wanting their pretzel as fast as possible. Would you like some cheese?

Student:
Yes, please.

Superintendent:
All right, here comes the cheese. She's smiling. She's giving me a chance.

Kathy:
Remind him that there's beans over here too.

Superintendent:
Oh, we got chili over here. We got red hot chili over here.

Kathy:
So they're beans baked beans.

Superintendent:
Here we go. It's brown. Alright. You know what? I forgot the tip. You just gave me the move. That tray in go. Would you like some cheese? All right, there you go. These are very polite cheese-eaters. Would you like some cheese? Let's put that on so it doesn't fall off.

See, I didn't even, I didn't even put that pretzel on the tray. I'm sorry.

Student:
Thank you.

Superintendent:
Thanks for your patience. He was very nice, even though I kind of untied his pretzel and it ended up halfway off. Wow. It's fast paced action. Would you like some cheese, cheese on the bottom of my, on the, of there? I'm afraid a lot of kids got cheese on the bottom of their tray because of my splash zone here. But, I'm uh, let's see if I can remedy that a little bit. All right. Fresh start. New tray, new line of kids. Yep. Thanks for the thanks for the help. Alright. Would you like cheese? Pull your tray forward, please. Let's pull it right to the edge. There. There you go. I have reduced the splash zone significantly. The cheese is flowing like butter. I'm telling you, it feels like this should be an easy serve day, but it's not for me. This is a lot to think about all at the same time. I am. I am proud that I am no longer stringing cheese all the way across the counter. Do you see it?

Kathy:
You have improved tremendously.

Superintendent:
Alright, awesome.

Kathy:
And you got rid of all our beans. We never get rid of all our beans.

Superintendent:
Good. I've been pushing the beans.

Kathy:
Okay. So we're 365 pizza today.

Superintendent:
365 pizza. So I'm kind of the underdog serving pretzels. Pretzels, probably fare better against pizza than some other. Uh, what's the most popular dish besides pizza?

Kathy:
Um, orange chicken.

Superintendent:
Oh, the orange chicken. Sounds really good. Yeah. How frequently do you do orange chicken?

Kathy:
About once a month.

Superintendent:
Okay. Well, that's a rare treat.

Kathy:
So you do about 500.

Superintendent:
Wow. 500 hundred orange chicken. And what else? What are you putting in competition with orange chicken?

Kathy:
Sometimes Sloppy Joes, but that's not a big hit.

Superintendent:
I like Sloppy Joe's eighties always serve. The more we talk about this the more, I think I need to stop by for lunch. Oh, I've got kids waiting. Grab some beans. Those are limited edition beans. Don't pass them up. Feeling the sense of accomplishment when you get through one group of kids. And then there's always another group of kids waiting.

Kathy:
Always, sometimes it's out the door.

Superintendent:
Okay. So honestly, that felt really fast moving to me. Some school districts prepare food at a common site and then deliver that. But that's not true for Jordan District. We make everything right here, and a lot of it's from scratch.

Kathy:
We make homemade muffins, chocolate muffins, banana muffins. We make homemade cinnamon rolls. We make scrambled eggs, homemade scrambled eggs.

Superintendent:
Wow. That sounds fantastic.

Kathy:
We have a toaster. We make toast.

Superintendent:
And what about for lunch? What are the lunch options that you make from scratch?

Kathy:
Lasagna homemade, homemade spaghetti, homemade, sloppy. Joe's homemade tacos. We make our own bread, cakes, cookies.

Superintendent:
It's a huge operation. What is the most difficult part of your job?

Kathy:
That guessing, projecting how much food I'm going to need because we have to do our orders a week in advance before we actually serve it. So I have to just guess how much pizza we're going to do, how many pretzels we're going to do. And sometimes I don't guess right.

We have the class send down the count at the beginning of the day, but that doesn't help when you have to order a week in advance. So I have to just guess. For instance, the other day we did chicken teriyaki and I only projected 250 and it was actually 300.

Superintendent:
Oh wow. Find a third choice.

After the fast paced food service, it was time to clean up. I was assigned dishwashing duty. It's kind of like a carwash. Whoa, I'm going to drag me in.

Kathy:
So it doesn't put up like that and the dishwasher and the sink and just spray her off.

Superintendent:
All right. Oh, here we go. Blend between a carwash and feeding your luggage into the x-ray machine at the airport.

Kathy:
I want one of these at my house. Makes doing dishes a lot easier. I'm going to hire him.

Superintendent:
I think I'm going home today. I think I can go home. I think they're in good hands here. How many kids do you serve a day?

Kathy:
Probably about 3000 kids lunches a week, 400 for breakfast each day. It's hard for me to go home now and just make dinner for three of us because I'm thinking we need 40 pounds of hamburger.

Superintendent:
While I finished making a bit of a mess in the kitchen at Fox Hollow. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll have some fun talking with students about school lunch.

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Superintendent:
Tell me your name again. And what grade are you in? And do you like school lunch? What do you like about school?

Student:
Uh, I like how it tastes.

Superintendent:
Hey guys. How's it going? You guys all have school lunch here. I see. What's your favorite?

Students:
Orange chicken.

Superintendent:
I heard the orange chicken is good. What else do you guys like?

Student:
The hamburger or the curly fries.

Superintendent:
The curly fries. Do they come with the hamburger?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
How are you? What's your name?

Student:
Mikayla. And I'm good.

Superintendent:
Mikayla, what grade are you in?

Student:
Sixth grade.

Superintendent:
What do you like about the lunch in the cafeteria?

Student:
It has carrots.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Okay. Very good. That's good for you. What's your favorite dish?

Student:
Um, barbecue pulled pork sandwich.

Superintendent:
Oh, okay. I didn't know they did that barbecue. That sounds good. All right. What's your name?

Student:
Sabrina.

Superintendent:
What grade are you in? Sabrina. And do you like the school lunch?

Student:
Uh, yeah.

Superintendent:
What's your favorite day?

Student:
Traveling tacos.

Superintendent:
What's the traveling tacos?.

Student:
So it usually has like Doritos on that. It has beans and chili and cheese.

Superintendent:
I've seen people walking around with those. I did not know what they were called. Those sound fantastic. I've seen them made with Fritos too.

Student:
Yeah, they used to do Fritos. Now they do Doritos.

Superintendent:
That's awesome. Uh, what's your favorite dish?

Student:
The traveling taco.

Superintendent:
Thanks for talking. Tell me your name.

Student:
Kira.

Superintendent:
What grade are you in?

Student:
I'm in six.

Superintendent:
And do you like lunch?

Student:
I feel like the school should give more choices.

Superintendent:
Like the choices that are here sometimes? What's your favorite?

Student:
Orange chicken.

Superintendent:
I'm hearing a lot of orange chicken.

Student:
It's because of the sauce. It kind of gives like a tang on your tongue. It's really cool.

Superintendent:
That does sound beautiful. Hi, Sean, what do you like about school lunch?

Student:
I like a lot of the food, especially the mashed potatoes and the chicken dinner.

Superintendent:
The mashed potatoes and chicken dinner. That sounds fantastic. How often do they happen?

Student:
It happens a lot on Fridays, but next eight days we're actually going to do the big Thanksgiving dinner.

Superintendent:
Oh, where the only choice that they have is the chicken dinner.

Student:
Oh. So when they do the chicken dinner, that's big enough so that's all they do.

Superintendent:
It's like a full Thanksgiving dinner. That sounds like something to look forward to.

Student:
Yeah, it's chicken mashed potatoes. You have like a roll and usually have a slice of pumpkin pie.

Superintendent:
Wow. Pumpkin pie at the end. I never had pumpkin pie with my school lunch. That's awesome. Well, great. Thanks for talking with me, Sean. Thank you for tuning into the Supercast. We invite you to subscribe using Apple, Google, or your favorite podcasting app. There's a new episode of the Supercast available every Thursday. I'm Anthony Godfrey. We appreciate your tuning in. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you out there.

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What is it like to keep schools with more than 56,000 students operating smoothly every single day? In this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey finds out what it is like to be a school custodian by taking on some of the enormous cleaning and operating tasks himself. We also talk to student sweepers about their duties as part of the custodial team and learn how students can apply for the part-time jobs.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we find out what it's like to keep up with the custodians. We're talking about school custodians who take care of buildings that are housing more than 56,000 students. Today, I dive in and do some of the work myself with the help of Kevin Sprague, who is the head custodian at our brand new Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman. Then we follow some sweepers around and find out how they land the jobs that in many cases seem to be a perfect fit for students. Let's start with a 7:00 AM visit to Mountain Ridge High School and Custodian Kevin Sprague. How are you Kevin?

Kevin:
I'm good. How are you, Dr. Godfrey?

Superintendent:
I'm doing all right. Uh, we're here at seven and I suspect Kevin has already been here for a while this morning.

Kevin:
Yes, I have. So I've been here actually, most of the weekend. I was here yesterday for about 10 hours, working with our contractors, finishing up our auditorium and then come in early this morning to touch up, clean up for Sadie's Dance. Do some little odds and ends. So yes, early.

Superintendent:
I have a theory that anyone who works in a high school could stand in the commons at any time, day or night, and someone would walk up and have a question or have a need. Do you feel like that's true?

Kevin:
Yes. And I'm glad that the District pays for our cell phones for all of our text, communication, emails, because it comes in all the time.

Superintendent:
I have no doubt. This is the second school you've opened. Right? You opened the middle school as well.

Kevin:
Yes. I opened up Copper Mountain Middle School six years ago and then thought I'd put in for the high school and here I am.

Superintendent:
Kevin, you and I have known each other for a long time. And your family has been very involved in Jordan School District. Tell us a little bit about that.

Kevin:
Yeah, my dad retired from the Jordan School District as a head custodian. I have a younger brother that's a head custodian over at Sunset Ridge Middle. His wife is a Nutrition Service Manager over at West Jordan Middle and then myself. I've been in the District for 28 years. Made a career out of it, probably will still continue to work here. And it's been a great place.

Superintendent:
We're very glad to have so many Sprague's in Jordan School District, doing the hard work that's required to keep everything up and running and I'm going to try some of that hard work today. Don't let me break anything.

(02:37):
We'll see how you go. We're going to give you a little demonstration on our riding floor scrubbers, and we'll see how you do.

Superintendent:
Now, the riding floor scrubber, it looks kind of like a Zamboni. It's like a Zamboni-lawnmower combination.

Kevin:
These machines are great when it comes to cleaning the buildings, and such large buildings to be able to clean every day and help keep the floors up. Okay, there we go.

Superintendent:
So here's the key switch. I still turn it on. Wait, do I need to put the brake on? I don't even need to do anything yet over here.

Kevin:
Alright, so we've got the water already set, the pad pressure already set. Now we're going to start the speed really slow. You can go kind of faster, but we're going to get going. We're going to push the green button.

Superintendent:
Is it going to start moving as soon as he pushes them?

Kevin:
That's this, this right here. That'll get you going forward. This is reverse. So forward arrow.

Superintendent:
Is there water coming out of the bottom?

Kevin:
Once you start going to water?

Superintendent:
Oh, so the water comes in once I start moving. Okay.

Kevin:
Make sure you steer.

Superintendent:
I'll make sure I steer, it sounds like a hovercraft. It sounds like I'm floating on air a little bit.

Kevin:
Ok, the squeegee down. And once we start going, they'll start walking.

Superintendent:
Alright. Alright. Do I control the speed with the gas pedal?

Kevin:
You don't even need to do anything here where we've got you on the lowest speed. So as fast as you want to go on the gas pedal, you can go and then turn.

Superintendent:
Okay. Now I'm avoiding lockers here. I'm avoiding the wall, but I think it would be kind of hard to be able to see where I'd been and make sure I lined up just right.

Kevin:
You have this nice little feature too.

Superintendent:
Oh, wait. Horn. Okay. Here we go. All right. Can you customize the horn?

Kevin:
Uh, I don't know. We'd have to check in with that.

Superintendent:
I think that's worth looking into all right. I'm going to try you here. I'm going to try a U-turn. Am I actually cleaning the floor? Am I just driving?

Kevin:
You're actually cleaning the floor right now. So the water's down. Everything's doing like, we do a normal cleaning. Like I say, this would just go a little faster. You can kind of tell once you get going, but it's all right.

Superintendent:
Let's put the pedal to the metal. Let's see how, let's blow this thing wide open. Do I have to set it differently here? Oh, it's slower. Fast. It's all or nothing. Huh? I just turned it on slow. We're going to now once you get going, let's see if we can get it back to fast.

Kevin:
Okay. Now go turn everything off.

Superintendent:
Oh, wow. All right. I'm feeling a little, uh, I'm feeling a little breeze now. Oh. But I did a terrible job. Does water just keep going?

Kevin:
Now that squeegee will come back down and you'll go right back over there.

Superintendent:
Okay. Why did I leave all that water behind? I went too fast.

Kevin:
No, we turned it on just so you can see how fast it goes without the water down. And then, we're still putting water down struggling, but now you're sucking it all back up with this squeegee.

Superintendent:
Okay. That's good. I didn't want to make things worse than when I came.

Kevin:
Yeah, you're good.

Superintendent:
Well, this is not an uncomfortable way to do this work. How was it done before you had a riding one? Was it the one where you kind of had to hold it?

Kevin:
Um, well before machines, we had to do everything with a mop, a hand mop. So over my career, we've been able to change the machines. It eventually worked to a walk behind machine, and now we went to the rider machines.

Superintendent:
So then you just turn everything off here. And then once you get off at all, raise it all up.

Kevin:
So it will raise up once you get off.

Superintendent:
Everything just kicked on, now everything's off. And then you would just turn the key back. It's a complex job. And if you don't have a great person like you at the helm in your school, then it's a very difficult time. But luckily we have great custodians in our District. And we've just got more and more, like you said, that you're responsible for in these buildings, because with the advanced in technology, the buildings are more complex and the maintenance is more complex.

Kevin:
We have to adapt as custodians. People think that, I think the thing is, you know, it's always been the janitor type deal. Well, that's gone a long time ago because we adapt, you know, to computer stuff. Now we're running this $80 million building and heating and air conditioning and light controls. And so we've had to adapt. It's not just the cleaning aspect of it anymore. It's more of our district with customer service and dealing with sport activities or, things that come into our building. So we've changed. It's not just the cleaning part of anymore. We're pretty important to maintain and take ownership of the buildings. You know, custodians are on call on the weekends. If something happens, custodians are who they call. It is important to be able to keep our custodians trained. And that goes along with ourCustodial Director to keep us trained. We have our trainings too. It's not just go in, clean and mop and empty some trash cans. There's a lot more to it.

Superintendent:
Every building has its own needs and you have to get to know that particular building and the things that have been installed over the years. And we really rely on our custodians just to keep things up and running, because if the things you're doing don't work, then nobody can do anything in the building.

Kevin:
Correct. Yeah. You know, even my principal, Mr. Kochevar was telling me the other day, "You know, there's important people in the building, and everyone is important, but when it comes down to it, your custodian and your head secretary, they keep things going every day and keep it managed." And even in the summertime, when schools are closed down, you know the custodians are in here cleaning, getting it ready for the school year to start during those three months when it's downtime. And it takes that time to keep it running and keep things looking good and maintained for the year.

Superintendent:
You know, I know you get called out in the middle of the night or during the day on the weekend. What are some of the crazy calls that you've received over the years?

Kevin:
Well, you know, you hate to say it, but some of this stuff is mostly vandalism and it's a shame that we get those calls where someone's either spray painted or didn't like the school and a rival school comes in. We had two funny things here. It was over fall recess, which is kind of funny and  you really don't hear these as custodians. So you think, oh, as we go back just to cleaning. We had a falcon get into our band room when they were changing some doors out and we had to call Animal Control and help them get nets in there. It took two days to finally catch the Falcon and take it out of the band room.

Superintendent:
So there were plenty of places for a falcon to hide here.

Kevin:
Yes. And he hung out there in the band room for two days before we were actually able to catch him. So, you know, you hear those little things. The other day, I helped the administrators going out to catch a chicken in the parking lot and you know, that sort of stuff. So there's a lot of other things.

Superintendent:
Was that a little bit like Rocky II, out there with Mike chasing the chicken?

Kevin:
Yeah. It was pretty interesting. There were six of us that finally caught it.

Superintendent:
Who caught it? I want to know who caught it.

Kevin:
Bartholomew, our vice principal was able to put his foot on it finally and catch it. And then we brought it in and put it in a box.

Superintendent:
That doesn't surprise me. He does have the eye of the tiger. You can tell when you walk by. Stay with us, we're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we go sweeping or something like that, with students sweepers at Mountain Ridge High School.

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Superintendent:
We're back talking to sweepers, students who are a part of the custodial team here at Mountain Ridge High School. Hi, what's your name?

Student:
I'm Kaitlin.

Superintendent:
You're a sweeper here at Mountain Ridge.

Student:
Yeah. I'm cleaning the windows on the doors and then I'm going to wipe them off

Superintendent:
Face print there in the window. Nose, mouth, cheek. Can you tell if it's male or female?

Student:
I can't, but it's probably a guy. That's usually who it is. It's usually a guy trying to get his friend's attention.

Superintendent:
Oh, look at that. He needs to exfoliate.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
It's kind of definitely tell it's really a face print. It's like a fingerprint. It's got all kinds of wrinkles in it. What percentage of classroom windows would you say have face prints from day to day?

Student:
Probably like 25%.

Superintendent:
Like one other free form as face. Oh, well it is high school. Okay.

Student:
That might be a nose or something.

Superintendent:
Yeah. That looks like a nose. All right. Wow. I do not see the attraction of doing that. It's kind of weird.

Student:
I don't get it either.

Superintendent:
I guess I've lost touch with the simple pleasures of being in high school.

Student:
Oh. Almost like someone put a sticker like right there and then peel it up.

Superintendent:
So that's probably so really there's a story behind every smudge.

Student:
Yes. That's what it is. Try to figure out the story. Sometimes I make my own up.

Superintendent:
See, now that's a girl who knows how to pass the time. Well done, Kaitlyn. And what is your specific responsibility?

Student:
Um, I clean the main level ScienceRoom, so I do garbages and the floors and gum scraping and everything.

Superintendent:
How do you get gum off?

Student:
A lot of elbow grease. You just keep going until it's gone. It's everywhere though.

Superintendent:
Have you ever seen the movie elf?

Student:
Yes. It's like that.

Superintendent:
Yeah. It is like that sometimes. Yeah. Have you ever chewed it before?

Student:
No, that's disgusting.

Superintendent:
Okay. So it's not like that to that degree. Can you tell which teacher's room is dirtier than another teacher's room? Is it consistent?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Okay. I'm not going to ask for names, but you can definitely tell a difference, huh?

Student:
Oh yeah, definitely.

Superintendent:
Okay. Alright. Fair enough. So generally, do you feel like kids are taking good care of the building?

Student:
Uh, I think they try. I think it's things happen though, right?

Superintendent:
Yeah. So how did you get the job as a sweeper?

Student:
Uh, I came in and talked to Kevin. I worked at Herriman before, so I already had everything on, certified and ready. And he had me started the next day.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Herriman to me feels like a brand new school, but it's been around for 10 years. Is there a difference working here versus working at Herriman?

Student:
Uh, yeah, a little bit. It's definitely nicer and newer and I don't know. I like it better.

Superintendent:
Thank you very much. Thanks for your workout.

Student:
Yeah, sure.

Superintendent:
Tell me, what's your name?

Student:
Mackay Mortenson.

Superintendent:
And you're a sweeper here at Mountain Ridge High School?

Student:
Yes, sir.

Superintendent:
And what do you like about being a sweeper?

Student:
Um, the hours are excellent and I know my schedule clear out to the end of the school year.

Superintendent:
That's true. I remember working a part time job and always having to check and see what the assistant manager assigned me. It's kind of nice to have some predictability.

Student:
Exactly. That's exactly what it is. And it's not that many hours, just two hours right after school. And so it fits in great with extracurricular activities and all kinds of stuff.

Superintendent:
And you only work on school days, is that right?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
How long have you done this?

Student:
Um, I'm coming up on two years now.

Superintendent::
Where were you before?

Student:
Fort Herriman Middle School.

Superintendent:
And how is the middle school different from the high school?

Student:
Um, in high schools, the sweeper just don't have to clean bathrooms, which is much better.

Superintendent:
Oh, I didn't know that now my son was a middle school sweeper and he was assigned the bathrooms when he was brand new. And, um, I guess the new guy always gets the bathrooms. He liked doing the bathrooms so much that he just held onto that job and he did it for four straight years. But you did not like that part of it now.

Student:
It's not my favorite. It requires a lot of detail orientation, just like every other aspect of everything. But people notice if there's something up with the bathrooms.

Superintendent:
That's true. They do notice quickly. So what responsibilities do you have here at Mountain Ridge?

Student:
Um, I cleaned the library, um, and I just help out and do what I need to do to clean, make sure everything's disinfected and vacuumed every single day.

Superintendent:
So the library is your main responsibility?

Student:
The library, and a few other classrooms.

Superintendent:
The library, and a couple of other classrooms. Okay. And then just whatever's needed along the way?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
And is this something that you might continue with or well first, let me ask you this. Are you in high school?

Student:
Yes. Here at Mountain Ridge.

Superintendent:
And so when you graduate, is this something you might consider continuing with?

Student:
You know, I think it definitely might be a good option to help get me through college and get me through schooling. The district does a really good job of taking care of their employees and I feel like it would be an excellent way for me to make a little bit of money.

Superintendent:
So how did you go about getting a job as a sweeper?

Student:
You just got to speak with the head custodian at the school you'd like to work with and he'll send you to sweeper training, that two hour class where you learn everything you need to know, and then you come in and you work.

Superintendent:
Okay, great. Thanks for talking with me. Thanks for doing a great job out there.

All right. Thank you very much. What's your name?

Student:
I'm Jonathan.

Superintendent:
And you're a sweeper here at Mountain Ridge?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
How did you get that job?

Student:
Uh, I found out about it online and then my dad told me to, I'm going to have to work with him. And I said, no. So I decided to take initiative and come get this job.

Superintendent:
What does your dad do?

Student:
He owns a concrete business.

Superintendent:
So you decided concrete was not for you now.

Student:
I've done it with him before and I don't like it.

Superintendent:
What do you like about being a sweeper?

Student:
It was a pretty flexible and it's just something to help get away from home and stuff.

Superintendent:
What makes Mr. Sprague the best boss in the world?

Student:
Uh, I guess he's not like that harsh or anything. He's a cool cat. I know you were running out of here when I stopped you to interview you. Do you try to crank through as fast as you can?

Student:
Uh, not always. I usually try to do my best and get what I can done.

Superintendent:
What are your responsibilities?

Student:
I take out the trash. I clean up the classroom. I usually wipe tables off from marks and stuff. Clean windows, not too bad.

Superintendent:
People treating the building with respect, do you think overall, or have you had some problems that way?

Student:
My biggest problem is there's a bunch of messes on the floor in some classrooms, people eating and then like dumping stuff on the floor and paper everywhere and not cleaning up.

Superintendent:
Well, thanks for doing this work. I think it's a great job.

We're going to take a quick break and then have one more look inside the life of a school custodian. Come on back.

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Superintendent:
Okay. We're upstairs now. What do you call this room?

Kevin:
So this is our mechanical room. This has about nine air handler units in here that do the heating and air conditioning for the biggest part of our building, the gymnasium area, the fitness rooms, the dance rooms. So each one of these units does a certain part of the building for the heating and air conditioning.

Superintendent:
So how frequently do you change the filters up here?

Kevin:
About three to four times a year, we change the filters throughout the building. Sometimes it depends out in these areas with the construction that gets a little bit dustier. You may have to do them a little more frequent, but generally three to four times a year.

Superintendent:
We're going to go in.

Kevin:
This is one of our air handler units.

Superintendent:
It looks like I'm going to walk into a cryogenic tank here.

Kevin:
Yeah. We've got a hole there, six big fans and motors that run. And then on the backside, over here, we have a filter. You can kind of see the different stages that it goes from the outside and then goes into the building. So right in here.

Superintendent:
Oh yeah. I can feel the air flow.

Kevin:
Yep. So we've got a whole panel of filters. You step right into this machine.

Superintendent:
It's a room that  you can almost stand all the way up. I can, you can stand up in. It's like a huge walk-in closet, like wow. Okay. Yeah.

Kevin:
Yeah. So we have this whole bank of filters and what we do is we take these out and you can kind of see how the dust is in here. There's little feathers come in and then you change these out.

Superintendent:
So these are throw away. We just put in a big order. Does it start out as white?

Kevin:
Yes, they're pretty clear. They're pleated just like kind of a filter at home, but there are like 16 of them along the wall here.

Superintendent:
Oh yeah, you do see feathers and stuff. That is what it pulls in, but this is all starting to look gray. How long have these been in?

Kevin:
This has probably been in since about July so these are on their cycle to be changed. But like I say, you can see the air and the fans coming in so that it blocks all the dust and stuff, going back into the building before. So we don't get all the dust particles on a dirty air day.

Superintendent:
Do you feel like we're in good shape inside?

Kevin:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Our filtration system. The thing is, like we were saying, you saw the different thicknesses of filters. Our HVAC Department in our Energy Department did a lot of research on specific filters to get the best air quality in the building. They went to the thicker, it was a Merv Eight, so you get the thicker filter and it lasts for that time-frame. And then, depending like you say, on the construction or air outside, you may have to change a little more frequently for dust, but our air quality in our facilities are awesome. Our guys do a great job at doing that research and our Energy Department to keep that outside air flow mixture.

Kevin:
Yeah, it does a great job.

Superintendent:
Is summer one of the busier times for you in a way?

Kevin:
Yes, summer, you know,  people think, "Oh, you know, what do you do during the summers custodian?" The kids are gone. Building's empty, you know, "Hey, do you get a break too?" Well, no, we don't. We're here 12 months. We go back through. It gives us time to shampoo carpets, clean and scrub, re-wax the floors. We're still maintaining the grounds out there and doing something to make sure those sprinklers are working. The grass stays green. Oh, here's another little thing, we have what, 2,600 lockers here. Well, that combo has to be changed somehow. It just doesn't stay on that way forever. Right? So we actually have to go around, put a key in and rotate that combo to the next one so it's all ready to go so people, kids, students can't come in next year and say, "Oh, I can go try the combo." It's a different combo.

Superintendent:
What are some of the things that people may misunderstand about the work you do as a custodian that some misunderstanding?

Kevin:
Well, I think we're here also to make the education better for our students and all that come in. I think the stat, like you say, the big stereotype is, "Oh, the mean Janitor." You know, we're awesome people too. We love working with the kids. One thing that I did at my middle school is at Christmastime, I dressed up into my Santa Claus costume and gave candy canes out to the students. So we want to be a part of the kids. We don't want to be just off to the side. We're here for kids and this is their building. And we want to make the best day that they can have as they come in. So, I think that's the thing. They just think we're not part of the education of kids, but we are, and we can play an important role in making day to day activities and work a success.

Superintendent:
Well, in my experience, custodians have always been an important part of what goes on at the school in every way. And every adult has a chance to connect to kids in a unique way, and everyone connects with someone and we need everybody's help. And I think custodians do a particularly good job of connecting to kids because you're out in the building, you're out and around and they see you every day.

Kevin:
Yeah, that's true. And you know what? It was just like a last Saturday night I came and we had our Sadie Hawkins dance and to see some of the students, they come up and high-five. You know they know who you are. They know you're part of the building. And to be able to have that is great. One time I went into a Checker Auto Parts and I was checking out and the guy that was helping me said, "Hey, Mr. Sprague" and he'd remembered me from elementary school from the impact I had. You know, that's what it is. It's what you want. You want them to remember you for the positive things. We all know there's not always the best of times with students but you know what, you're here and there. It's almost like a family. You get to know the kids as they come in and then they respect you. So we appreciate that. 

Superintendent:
Thanks for everything that you do here and that you've done in every school where you've worked and for the positive impact you've had, wherever you go on students on employees, just making it feel good to be at the school where you're working.

Kevin:
Thank you very much. I appreciate it. I've done it for a long time and it's been a great place to work. And my family has found it a great place to work. And I actually have a senior that wants to go into Special Education. So it's great to be a part of the district.

Superintendent:
So if you're thinking about working for Jordan School District, come to Mountain Ridge. Talk to Kevin Sprague, and he'll give you the low down.

Well, thank you very much for being with us. Thanks a ton to Kevin Sprague for taking time out of a very busy schedule. You can hear in the background, they're hard at work here at Mountain Ridge every second of the day, keeping things up and running.

Just remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see out there.

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It is time for Thanksgiving, good food and giving thanks. On this episode of the Supercast, elementary school students share their thoughts on the holiday and tell us how to cook the perfect turkey with all the trimmings.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Supercast!


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we are talking turkey and giving. Thanks on this Thanksgiving Day episode. Fourth and fifth grade students at Hayden Peak Elementary school talk about what they're thankful for, from family and friends to teachers and talk. But first we head out to Fox Hollow Elementary where second grade students share their thoughts on preparing the perfect Thanksgiving meal, including cooking what could be the biggest turkey of all time. Tell me your name. What's your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Student:
Turkey.

Superintendent:
Turkey. How long does it take to cook a turkey? What do you think?

Student:
Maybe 10 minutes, 30 seconds.

Superintendent:
What if you only cook at 10 minutes and not the 30 seconds? What do you think with him?

Student:
It would maybe be raw.

Superintendent:
Yeah. I'm not a chef. I don't cook things. I eat a lot more than I cook, so I'm not really sure how to cook all this stuff. What other foods does your family have at Thanksgiving?

Student:
Mashed Potatoes.

Superintendent:
Mashed potatoes. I hope they have gravy. Sorry. Put the pressure on. Your whole class is watching to see what type of gravy you like.

Teacher:
I like the Brown. You like the white?

Superintendent:
Okay. All right. Let's talk gravy folks. That's a very comfortable topic for me. You like the Brown? Tell me your name and what's your favorite food of Thanksgiving?  Is it the turkey?

Student:
I like the turkey.

Superintendent:
Do you like the white meat or the dark meat?

Student:
Dark, dark meat. Brown gravy. What else do you like?

Student:
The mashed potatoes and the pumpkin.

Superintendent:
Potatoes. You feel like you eat more on Thanksgiving day than on other days? I do too. How long do you think it takes to cook a turkey?

Student:
30 seconds.

Superintendent:
30 seconds. Do you cook it in the microwave or the oven?

Student:
The oven.

Superintendent:
So 30 seconds in the oven. How hot do you think the oven needs to be?

Student:
Super hot.

Superintendent:
Super hot. Is that a setting on the oven or do you think you just turn it up pretty high?

Student:
Just think you turn it up super high. If it's glowing red inside and it's hard to get close to it, then it's hot enough.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Okay. Thanks. We're getting a lot of good advice here. I think listeners, you ought to try this advice because until you've tried it, how do you know? How do you know whether it works or not? Alright, let's talk with you over here at this table. Do you like Thanksgiving?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
What do you like about Thanksgiving?

Student:
Probably spending time with my family.

Superintendent:
Do you watch sports at all?

Student:
Mm, my brother tell me that I have to.

Superintendent:
Oh, they tell you that you have to watch sports.

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
You don't necessarily want to. You don't like to watch sports either.

Student:
Nope. Not on Thanksgiving? Nope.

Superintendent:
Did they watch Thanksgiving sports at your house?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
What sport did they want?

Student:
Um, I forgot, but they do watch sports.

Superintendent:
And you don't like to, so what do you do instead?

Student:
Go downstairs and play.

Superintendent:
How many pounds do you think that turkey is?

Student:
2 million

Superintendent:
2 million pounds. Does that include stuffing or is that without the stuffing?

Student:
Without the stuffing?

Superintendent:
Whoa, that's just another reason not to cook this stuffing in the turkey. Over 2 million pounds may be too much for the oven. Um, how long do you cook a turkey?

Student:
Three hours.

Superintendent:
Three hours for 2 million pounds. Okay. And what temperature?

Student:
900 degrees.

Superintendent:
900 degrees. 2 million pounds. Three hours. Okay. Are listening at home? I'm hope you're taking notes because Chalice knows what's up. How many people would that feed, the whole earth? The generosity that Chalise showing right now, she wants to feed the whole earth with a 2 million pound turkey. It's truly inspiring. It's inspiring. What does Thanksgiving look like for you?

Student:
Um, it's really fun.

Superintendent:
What makes it fun? Besides 2 million pounds of turkey meat.

Student:
Watching Aggies football.

Superintendent:
Watching Aggies football on Thanksgiving. Do you  cheer for the Aggies all the time?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
Are you required to, or do you just come by this naturally?

Student:
They were a favorite team.

Superintendent:
Okay. I respect that. Braden. What do you like about Thanksgiving? Turkey?

Student:
Turkey. What else?

Superintendent:
Turkey. So you like Turkey and Turkey. And what else?  It's a good thing because the challenge is over. There is 2 million pounds of turkey meat he is trying to get rid of. Wow. Anybody like cranberries? Okay. You do not like cranberries. What do you dislike about cranberries? What did they do to you?

Student:
I hate them now.

Superintendent:
See, not liking cranberries is different from hating them. Did you have a bad experience in your childhood? You just have decided you hate them?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Have you ever tried them?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
You did try them. And what do they taste like?

Student:
Uh, I don't know. Really too much.

Superintendent:
They just taste like unhappiness. Where do cranberries come from?

Student:
I don't know.

Superintendent:
You just wish they'd go back.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Alright. Fair enough. Who eats the most in your family at Thanksgiving?

Student:
My grandpa.

Superintendent:
Your grandpa does. Okay. Do you think your grandpa realizes he's the one who eats the most?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
Is he proud of it? Does he kind of tell everyone he's going to eat more than everyone else?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
Okay. Here's the big question. After he eats more than everyone else, does he then fall asleep on the couch?

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent:
Okay. Do you know what? He sounds like a lot of grandpas out there. When you're not playing and having fun, how do you help at Thanksgiving?

Student:
I clean up.

Superintendent:
You clean up? Wow. That's impressive. What do you do to help?

Student:
Clean up.

Superintendent:
Okay.

Student:
I take out the trash.

Superintendent:
Is that only at Thanksgiving or do you do that all the time?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
I see, all the time. Wow. That's really cool. Uh, that is going to be necessary after we serve 2 million pounds of turkey. There's going to be a lot of cleanup and garbage. So you guys make a good team. Some of you know how to cook. Some of you are ready to clean up. And that's awesome. What do you think is in stuffing?

Student::
Um, I don't know.

Superintendent:
I don't know either.

Student:
These little things that feel like mashed potatoes.

Superintendent:
What else? Who else has an idea? Brayden? What do you think is in stuffing? Well, some of the stuffing I've had has not been very tasty. And where do you think is in stuffing?

Student:
Bread?

Superintendent:
Yes, it is. There is bread in stuffing. There's a lot of other stuff I don't know about, but well done. Oh and celery. Wow. And what else?

Student:
Bread and celery and carrots and carrots and love.

Superintendent:
Donny what's in stuffing, a million hearts, 2 million pounds of turkey. It's a beautiful thing.

Student:
Um, like, so bread, celery, carrots, broccoli.

Superintendent:
Wow. It sounds very good for you. Maybe we should all eat some more stuffing. Okay. Thank you very much for letting me come in and talk with you guys. We'll take a quick break and we'll be back to speak with students from Hayden Peak Elementary about Thanksgiving.

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Superintendent:
Welcome back. We're here with students at Hayden Peak Elementary talking about what they're thankful for. What's your name?

Student:
My name's Shannon.

Superintendent:
And what are you thankful for around Thanksgiving time?

Student:
I'm really thankful for my family and my friends and a lot of people.

Superintendent:
A lot of people. That's a good thing to be thankful for. Who else are you thankful for?

Student:
I'm also thankful for my teachers and policemen and firefighters and people who serve our country.

Student:
My name is Cody and I am thankful for the U S military and how they served us and some have given their lives. And I'm thankful for my family and what they've provided for me, my family and the things they do for me.

Student:
I'm Kona. And I'm thankful for school.

Superintendent:
What do you like about school?

Student::
Um, I can learn. I'm thankful for the food that I have, the activities I get to do.

Superintendent:
What are some of your favorite activity?

Student:
Um, piano. Ventriloquism. Soccer?

Superintendent:
Yeah. No ventriloquism and soccer. That's a lot of things to do all at once.

Student:
Not all at once. All.

Superintendent:
Okay. Not all at once. You're learning ventriloquism, huh?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
And do you have a ventriloquism dummy?

Student:
Not dummy.

Superintendent:
What are they called? I'm sorry. Is that not the proper terms?

Student:
Call it the puppet.

Superintendent:
I'm sorry. Miles, what are you thankful for?

Student:
My family, my friends and the policemen, firefighters and the army.

Superintendent:
All right. Tell me your name.

Student:
My name's Louie.

Superintendent:
Louie. What are you thankful for?

Student:
For my parents and how I can be here and do this podcast.

Superintendent:
I'm grateful that you're here doing the podcast as well. Uh, tell me a little bit about your parents. What do they do for you?

Student:
Um, they let me go to school and learn and play sports. I like to do the sports. I like to play football and basketball.

Superintendent:
What position do you like to play in football?

Student:
Safety.

Superintendent:
Safety. And what is the safety?

Student:
Good. He's the last defender. And he asked them to take all the tackles and watch all the packs.

Superintendent:
I'm gonna call you the last defender. I kind of liked that phrase, the last defendant. Okay. Well, good luck. I'm glad your parents are so supportive of that. That's awesome. Ellie, what are some things you're thankful for Thanksgiving?

Student:
I'm thankful for my family and for my clothes.

Superintendent:
Okay, awesome. What are you grateful for?

Student:
My family and everybody that I can trust, my family, my friends, um, my teachers, Mrs. Fisher. The food that my parents provide and the home, the house over my head. And I'm thankful for my food.

Superintendent:
Good work. We had a lot of fun with students at Fox Hollow and Hayden Peak Elementary Schools who shared their thoughts on Thanksgiving and secrets to a successful turkey dinner. Don't try this at home in Jordan School District. We're thankful every day for the opportunity to educate students and help them find success in life. From all of us at the Supercast, Happy Thanksgiving. And remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. Happy Thanksgiving.

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While many children and teens take weeks compiling Christmas wish lists, there are students in Jordan School District who want nothing more than a warm coat, a pair of socks or something for their siblings. In this episode of the Supercast, you will hear heart warming stories about the effort to provide “Christmas for Kids” who would otherwise have little or nothing under the tree this holiday season.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. For those of you listening who are already stressed out about holiday shopping and finding that perfect gift today, we have an idea that just might relieve some of that stress. How about doing something that amounts to the gift of giving back every year. The Jordan Education Foundation sponsors something called Christmas for Kids. It provides a free holiday shopping spree for Jordan School District students who might otherwise go without one single gift, a warm coat, boots, or simply some new socks over the holidays. Here to tell us about how you can get involved with Christmas for Kids and give the gift of your time volunteering is Jordan Education Foundation Director, Steve Hall, and Brian Simon, President and CEO of the South Jordan Chamber of Commerce. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us on the Supercast.

Steve:
Thank you, it's an honor.

Superintendent:
Steve, tell us a little bit about the Foundation. We're going to do a Supercast about just the Foundation, but this is one of the wonderful things the Foundation does. Tell us a little bit about it.

Steve:
Christmas for Kids is a program that we started because we know there are a lot of kids that won't have this Christmas opportunity. So six years ago, I think it was, we started with an idea. We were able to get 40 secondary middle school, high school students to come to Gordmans and get Christmas. We matched them up with some chaperones. That has grown up to this point and now we have this year, we're going to do at least 500 secondary middle school, high school students and give them Christmas.

Superintendent:
And how do you choose the students who will receive the opportunity to do this?  Go to the schools?

Steve:
The schools have counselors, administrators, teachers who know the students that need some extra help, that may be feeling alone. They may know a family situation where a family is having some particular struggles. They want to be like every other kid in the school, but maybe they don't have the right clothes and maybe they don't have the warm clothes and they're struggling. And it's the administrators, the counselors, and the teachers that know the students because they are professionals that really care about the kids. And as they walk, we've seen these teachers, counselors, principals dig into their own pockets to buy Christmas for Kids. And so we're trying to make sure everyone that's deserving gets Christmas.

Superintendent:
Mr. Simon, thanks for joining us. Tell us how you got involved in your history with Christmas for Kids.

Brian:
Actually, Steve and I got together and decided we want to do something with Gordmans as well to help with the Jordan School District. So we threw some ideas around and we decided on something similar to Shop with a Cop, but really blow it up. So we decided a little different with the middle and high school. The elementary age usually gets help a little bit more. We thought this was kind of an untapped resource where they don't get as much help. And we decided instead of just having police come in and chaperone or walk around the store for 15 minutes and then go to the checkout and go, we wanted to create an event that the entire community could be part of. So we've got city officials, police department, fire department, military, educators, business leaders that come in, residents that come in and chaperone and take these students shopping throughout the store.

And they have $115 to spend, which doesn't sound like a lot to some people, but it is a lot of money for somebody that doesn't normally have any money. Steve said several chaperones will spend over and I make sure I announced that at the event, make sure you keep track of your go over, or make sure you get your wallet out. So it is just an absolutely fun event. It's not only amazing for the students ,what the chaperones get out of this event is like no other event that I've ever seen or heard of.

Superintendent:
So tell us a little bit about what the role of the chaperone is.

Steve:
So schools have identified kids in need of a Christmas shopping spree, and then you look for chaperones.

Superintendent:
Now, I've been a part of the event before, and it's fabulous. Will you just describe to listeners what that entails for a chaperone?

Steve:
Absolutely. Basically, when the students come in, they go to their school and get signed in at the tables. We have chaperones that we get through the foundation as well as for the chamber of commerce exit business leaders, all, all these other city officials and things they check in and their team of that student. They spend that hour, hour and a half walking the store talking and really relating with that student. I always say, to me it's just as much of a mentoring event as it is a Christmas event. You're gonna be a positive influence. I mean, could you imagine shopping with the Mayor of South Jordan and talking with the Police Chief? Naturally, because you'll be there this year, right?

Superintendent:
That's right.

Steve:
Just making sure.

Superintendent:
I'm there, I'm there.

Steve:
A fun event. I had some complaints last year that the line was too long and I told them, that's exactly what I want. I want that because the other chaperones are talking to the students as well. Everybody's kind of in a group and some of the stories you hear when you're walking by are so heartwarming and those chaperones walk out, a lot of them in tears, a lot of them are smiling but still crying just because of what they were able to do to help a student that day. And that's what distinguishes this from some other charitable experiences or opportunities that you might have throughout the holiday season or any time during the year. There's a very human element to this. It's about relationships and interaction when they're shopping.

Brian:
We had an experience last year that one of the people in line that was volunteering to help, not as a chaperone but just trying to make sure students were going one way and chaperones going another. And he was just before checkout. And just before checkout, he was looking down in the shopping cart of this one student. He was looking down there and the kid had some really great stuff. And he asked, what was the best part of your shopping? And he looked up and pointed to his chaperone and he said, spending an hour with that guy was more important. And we don't think of that often enough. These kids, not only are they deserving what they need, but they may be in family circumstances that are tough. They may not have any adults to ever talk to and relate to let alone, get to go with these people that come and volunteer their time. And that's where, as a community member, there is no better way to kick off your Christmas season.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Who's eligible to participate?

Steve:
It's anybody that's over 18 and I have a high schoolers for chaperones. You have to go on the website and register. Again, we look at not only the city and police and fire and business leaders and educators, but we have several residents. One of our first events, I was called to the back of the store because a customer wanted to speak to me. And I thought it was because there's too much noise. It was crazy in here. And I walked back and she asked what's going on? I started with an apology, which I probably shouldn't have done, but I did. And she said, "No, no, no. I just want to know what's going on. Is there any way we can be involved? We saw a mother with her two daughters waiting up front for the daughter. Can we take them shopping?" And I'm already tearing up. And I said, "Absolutely." And they have volunteered. They moved to Montana, but came back and she came back to the store and asked, "Are you still doing Christmas for Kids?" Yes. She's said, all right. I want to be part of it. And she came back and registered again.

Superintendent:
Wow. That is somebody who was shopping that day, not knowing what's going on, not even taking care of the students that are in the event. Taking care of the mothers and clothes. I think she had one child and bought the child's clothing and toys. It's not just a, a great event. It is miraculous. And so if you do want to register to participate either as a donor or as a chaperone, go to jefchristmasforkids.org and the for is spelled out, not the number four. So jefchristmasforkids.org. And you can sign up as a donor and a chaperone because if you do one, you really ought to do the other.

Superintendent:
Let's take a quick break and we'll come back and learn a little bit more about Christmas for kids through the Jordan education foundation.

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Superintendent:
We're back with Steve Hall, the Director of the Jordan Education Foundation and Brian Simon, and the President and CEO of the South Jordan Chamber of Commerce, who are here to talk with us about Christmas for Kids. One of the big events that the Jordan Education Foundation puts on every year. Tell us a little bit about where the funding comes from. The program involves taking students in need on a shopping spree at Christmas time. Where does the funding come from? Where did they shop? How does all of that work?

Steve:
The mission of the Jordan Education Foundation is to engage communities, to provide resources, to strengthen students and feel success in Jordan School District. One of the things that we do to fuel the success and strengthen the students is to provide programs like this. And as we engage communities, we engage people from individuals who are making $5 donations, individuals that are making a hundred dollars donations, that they are officially sponsoring a student themselves with $125 to corporations and businesses. We've got companies that are having so much fun with the Christmas for Kids idea that they don't give the meaningless gifts around the office. They're instead saying, let's donate to Christmas for Kids, let's pool all of our money and make a significant impact. We've got SouthTowne Volkswagen who has donated $2,500. Walmart, who is hosting our program has donated $10,000. Larry H. Miller Charities has donated $15,000. That is a great start to get us to our 50 to 60 to $70,000 that we're going to need for this program. And every donation that is made through JEF Christmas for Kids will make an impact, whether it's large or whether it's small, you can participate directly. Even if you don't have the financial means to contribute, you can just come be a chaperone to one of those 500 kids who will be shopping that morning.

Superintendent:
Tell us more details about when that's happening and how someone can sign up to be a chaperone.

Steve:
Sure. December 14th from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the Walmart on 114000 South and Bangerter. Again, you can register to chaperone or donate, or what I say is you might as well just do both at jefchristmasforkids.org. And you will actually see a gallery in there from last year. If you've never been to the event, you can go in and see what it looks like. And again, you do it and you're hooked. It's going to be a yearly event for you and your spouse or a family. So we really need help at whatever level, absolutely financial or otherwise. Every dollar counts and every chaperone counts. If, for some odd reason, we have too many chaperones, we've got people that need to help bag, people that can help direct people. There's so many different things that we need help with. So it is roughly 500 to 550 chaperones, but we're going to have to have 50 volunteers at the event too, to help be part of the event. It doesn't matter what you do. You're a part of this amazing event that you're going to walk out of going, "Wow, that was the best thing I've ever done."

Superintendent:
And emphasizing that it is very important to not just show up the day of the event, but to register at the website prior to showing up so we know you are coming now. When the chaperone comes through the aisles and is walking along with the student that they're helping shop, what have they observed? What are kids shopping for and who are they shopping for?

Brian:
Actually, a Jordan School District employee tell me the story. The student was putting a toaster in (a girl toy and this was a male. And she asked, "What are you doing?" I'm buying stuff for my family. Nothing in that cart for him at that point. And she said, "No, no, , here's what we're gonna do. You're gonna spend this money on yourself. And then we will go back and I'll take care of this stuff for your family." It doesn't that the student doesn't know if you're spending $10 more, $200 more. They just know they could have an entire Christmas with their family.

I was with the Chief of Police at a meeting. And we talked about what he did one year. He bought a TV for the family after he did, the student spent $115. He bought a little bit extra and then saw a TV there. And he asked, do you guys have a TV? No, we don't have a TV. So he turned around and bought that TV. It's that kind of feeling and that kindness you give a student and a family. In those of situations, they know they are loved and people do care about them.

Steve:
I remember one student that came one year. Betty was a junior, maybe a senior in high school. We do encourage them to buy needs, but be sure you throw in a want or two. This student came in, got the shopping cart with the chaperone, went directly back to the sock section and loaded that cart with socks and the chaperone asked, "What are you doing?" And she said, "My feet will never be cold again." And I remember one girl coming. She didn't have a ride. She walked everywhere. We got one of those mornings that was really, really cold and it was cold. And she came in, she was ill-equipped for it. But when she left, she had a warm coat. And those are the kinds of things that we see. Time and time again at this particular event. It's very, very heartwarming.

Brian:
And even with Santa being there, you would think middle and high school kids, you know, that's Santa, whatever. We have the fire department bring Santa on the fire truck. And we get the police department that puts the antlers on their cars and act like the reindeer, bringing them in. And those students and chaperones are very excited to interact during that event. And it's just such an amazing total event. We could talk about stories for eight hours, not even cover all of them. There's just so many heartwarming stories, so many tear-filled stories. I've walked off the floor several times when we had it at Gordman's to go in my office and you could see me crying. It's just one of those events that you cry, but it's a cry of helping and, you know, bringing the community together, helping these students out and having them have a smile on their face when they walk out. That's priceless that a donation can do that. It's just amazing. Like Steve was saying earlier, students who are cold, students who are worried about just taking care of their basic needs, can't learn. So this is a great way to meet those needs and to help students feel a part of their community, feel the love that we have for them, and put themselves and their families in a better situation going forward. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate the holidays.

Superintendent:
Absolutely. So we're going to talk to some volunteers, but one more time, before we take a break, how do we access the information and sign up?

Steve:
jegchristmasforkids.org  You can register to be a chaperone or make a donation, or both. Every dollar counts. Anyone 18 or over, please sign up, consider donating, consider stopping by as a chaperone.

Superintendent:
And we'll talk with a few people who've been chaperones after the break. Thanks for joining us and thanks to both of you.

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Superintendent:
Welcome back to the Superintendent. We're here talking about Christmas for Kids. One of the Jordan Education Foundation events. We've been talking with Steve Hall, Brian Simon. And now we have two of the administrative assistants from here in the district office that I know very well Nadine Page and Cari Minnesota, who have both been chaperones on the Christmas for kids event in the years past. Thanks for coming on the show.

Cari and Nadine:
Thanks for having us. Thanks for having this.

Superintendent:
Nadine, let's start with you. Tell us a little bit about what experiences you've had being part of Christmas for Kids.

Nadine:
Okay. My first year, I was with a young man and we went around and we were gathering the things, but he kept saying he wanted to get something for his family. I want to get something from my brother, for my grandma. He lived with his grandma and grandpa because mom was in jail. Dad was who knows where. And so I just kept encouraging him. This is for you, you know, we'll see what we have left. And so we were able to get one item for each of his family members. But what touched me the most was as we were standing in line, Santa was going around the store and he came up to this young man and handed him a gift and the student took it and he opened it and he said, "Oh my gosh". And I said, "what?" And he said, "He knows me." And I said, "What do you mean?" And he showed me a harmonica. And he said, "My dad had found a harmonica for me one time and it was stolen from our home" And he said that was one of the most special things I had. And he was given this harmonica. And from then on, I decided I am doing this every year if I possibly can.

Superintendent:
That's an amazing story. And that matches up with some of the stories that Steve was telling, how miracles happen at this event.

Nadine:
Yeah. It's definitely miracles. And I think of my daughter. The next year I signed up of course, to go and ended up quite sick. And my daughter and her husband went and absolutely loved it and went back again last year. And I think one of the miracles is just how they want to serve others. The young lady that my daughter had wanted some perfume. She was very quiet and wouldn't hardly pick out anything, but finally got some things and then found some perfume, but didn't have enough for it. And so after it was over, my daughter came to me and said, "Mom, can we find the student?" She knew what school she was from, but didn't have a name. And I said, probably, and she went out and bought that perfume for her. And we took it to the school and asked the principal if he could get it to her. And later she got a thank you card delivered to me from the student saying, thank you.

Superintendent:
Wow. That's amazing. What wonderful stories. CariMinnesota, tell us a little bit about your experiences with Christmas for Kids.

Cari:
One of the young men that my husband and I had was emancipated from his family. So he actually was living in an apartment on his own, going to high school and getting tremendous grades because school meant a great deal to him. And he was chosen to come and do Christmas for Kids. And the items that he was putting in his basket were towels, sheets, a pillow for his bed, a lamp because he didn't have furnishings for his apartment. And sometimes we just don't even have a clue what some of our students are facing, what trials they're going through on their own, just to get up and go to school every day. So here's a young man getting wonderful grades, trying extremely hard in school, living on his own. He was working part time at the Megaplex Theaters, just trying to make ends meet. And this was an opportunity for us to reach out and help him. And we thought we were trying to do something for Christmas, but it was just for some basic needs that he had.

Superintendent:
Obviously the detail with which you remember, these stories suggests that it stays with you. You don't forget these experiences.

Cari:
That's correct. There's no way to forget. Every Christmas, as it comes around, I think of the students that we've taken through and the experiences that we've had with them.

Superintendent:
So would you recommend to anyone listening that they ought to sign up and either participate and, or donate?

Cari:
Absolutely. And it's each and every year. And just from what we can see each year, it is growing and that we're able to reach out and help more students who are in need and how meaningful that is as a District that we can do that.

Superintendent:
Well, thank you very much for being here today, but especially for your service and help with the Christmas for Kids program. Thanks for sharing your stories with us today.

Cari and Nadine:
Thank you for having us.

Superintendent:
We'll take another quick break and we'll come back to talk with some students who have been impacted by being the beneficiaries of this program. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

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Superintendent:
Welcome back. Now let's head out to Copper Hills High, where we'll visit with two students who are finding hope because of the help they're receiving there.We have at least 500 students in need, who will be part of Christmas for Kids.

You both get to participate in Christmas for kids. Are you looking forward to that? And what are your plans?

Student:
I'm super stoked. When she told me about it, I was like, "I don't know what to say. I'm so excited. Like, I don't even know what to do. I'm so happy. I'm going to go and I'm probably gonna get Christmas, not only for me, but for my siblings as well. It'll be a lot of fun."

Superintendent:
How about you?

Student:
Probably very similar to what she is doing, trying to use the extra resources to help my siblings as well.

Superintendent:
Is it hard when you know that you're in need and you know that you need help? Is it hard to ask her to feel comfortable getting that help?

Student:
It can be a little bit, because you have a lot of pride in yourself. I can make it on my own. I can do it. But then there just comes a point where you realize you need help and the community here is super awesome.

Superintendent:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. If you'd like to help, visit jefchristmasforkids.org. You can make a donation or sign up to shop with a student. It'll change your life. And remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. Thanks for listening. We'll see you.

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There are many options for students interested in classes at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers. One program is “purr-fect” for animal lovers. Today we take you inside the Veterinary Science Program where teens are turning their love for furry creatures of all kinds into careers.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. In this episode, we had inside the very hands-on Veterinary Science Program at JATC North, where teens are turning their love of animals into possible careers. The program helps West Jordan Animal Control, spay and neuter stray and feral cats., giving them the chance at a better life. It's a life lesson students embrace. Let's start by heading inside the animal operating room with instructor and licensed Veterinarian, Dr. Wyatt Frampton.

Dr. Frampton:
I feel like you learn a lot about animals and Vet Science, but you also learn a lot about life in general in this class. I would say that the majority are probably not going to stay in the profession of animals. They're going to go find some way to make more money easier. But hopefully we're going to have animals, so I'd like to take care of them. And they are going to tell them you're probably going to live until that age, regardless of what they think. Now, you're going to run into medical things. As you get older, teach them as much medicine as we go along that behavior.

Superintendent:
For those listening, he's talking through a mask, as you can imagine, because he's in surgery. While Dr. Frampton takes a few students at a time through the spay and neuter process in the operating room, we stepped out into the clinic to talk with other teens in the program. What made you guys want to be in this program?

Student:
I wanted a good job after high school. I knew that Vet tech would give me something to be able to get a good paying job after high school.

Superintendent:
Do you like animals? Is that why you chose this program?

Student:
I do. I'm more interested in horses, but I thought that being a Vet tech after high school would be a good way to go down that path of being a horse Vet.

Superintendent:
So, okay. That's great.

Student:
I want to be a Veterinarian so I thought that this would further the career and get me more interested all around.

Superintendent:
What made you want to be a Vet? Do you like animals? What was it that moved you that way?

Student:
I really like animals, and I just always kind of wanted to be a Vet. I just always wanted to, so this is like one step closer to being, doing animal therapy. I just joined the class because it's one step closer to it. I've \grown up with my four dogs. My whole life, I've always had four dogs and I just liked being around them. And I want to work with bigger animals when I'm older. So that's why I did this class just because it gets me closer to doing that.

Superintendent:
What bigger animals do you want to work with?

Student:
Like more wildlife, like zoo animals, tigers and lions and all that stuff. I just have always had like a huge passion for those animals and I just would love to work with them and help rehabilitate them and everything.

Superintendent:
Sorry. Did you just give a shot to a cat there?

Student:
It's the dates them. So in a few minutes, he's going to be feeling a little bit funny. It's going to be drugged up. So we'll write down the time that we gave it and wait for her to fall asleep.

Superintendent:
So tell me about these cats. We've got these cats in cages here. Where did these cats come from?

Student:
They come from West Jordan Animal control when they're in these cages and then the ones that are in the completely confined cage, those ones are feral. So they're more likely to be a little bit more aggressive.

Superintendent:
What's this cat's name over here? Emily. Is Emily about to get a shot? Oh, she's almost out. Oh, she's the one who's actually is out.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Okay. See, I have love on her ear and maybe that means she's out.

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent:
Back inside the operating room. Dr. Frampton explains the goal of this program.

Dr. Frampton:
We try to mimic, we're definitely not a full service veterinary clinic, but we're running a spay neuter program for West Jordan Animal Shelter. So this would be the exact same thing that a full service veterinarian clinic would do with every animal that comes in. We've got this cat that's pre-medicated and ready to go under anesthesia. We're going to be vaccinating her right now. We'll be putting the endotracheal tube to put her on on the gas anesthetics. And then she'll be taken into the other room after we spade or after we clip and scrub her. And then she will be spayed and sent back today. And hopefully by next week have a new home.

Superintendent:
And any surgeries though are done by you? A licensed vet.

Dr. Frampton:
Yes. The students under my supervision could do vaccinations, giving medications or anything like that, but actual surgery, you know, the surgery they get to do would be things like ear tipping, the feral cat was ear tipped. And the only reason we tip their ears is we can see at a distance if they've already been fixed, was to take the cat to recover fully, getting back to the regular mischief.

I feel like it's two weeks. I think that it takes a little while for them, after they first get fixed when they're in the shelter and everything. They're probably going to be sore for a couple more days afterwards.

Superintendent:
What animals will students end up working on in the program?

Dr. Frampton:
We're looking at dogs and cats in the program. But if they go to a certain type of practice, they can go anywhere from large animals horses, cattle, sheep whatever, or they can go into exotics. Pretty much any exotic animal out there. So it really depends on what their interests are. They have a 80 hour externship that they do. And it's depends on their interest. If they don't like horses, I recommend that they don't go up around horses in their externship. And so if they're in exotic, if they are into the aquarium, that's where they need to go. Anybody that's interested in animals, there's a place for you, regardless of what you know, based on your personality. Sometimes you're into the program because you want to pursue it as a professional. Sometimes it's so that you can learn that you really should not pursue it as a profession.

I would say, I would say we're probably looking at 30% will probably stay in with animals somewhere and then 70% will decide there are better and easier ways to make money.

Superintendent:
But after being here only for a few minutes this afternoon, I would say a hundred percent will remember their experience vividly.

Dr. Frampton:
I would hope so.

Superintendent:
Thank you very much for taking the time.

Dr. Frampton:
I appreciate it. Good for animal owners regardless. And most student will own the animals because they do like animals. That's the only reason they're here is because they like them. Don't see too many people that come here that don't have any interest in animals. They don't come to JATC for my program if they don't like animals. There's other programs here, but they come liking animals and they come away from the program knowing how to take even better care of animals.

Superintendent:
Yes. Wow. Impressive program. And I'm super impressed. As I talked with the students, it's obvious they're pushing boundaries and doing things they weren't previously comfortable doing. Even if they were animal lovers, they're learning and doing things that they weren't able to or comfortable doing previously. So congratulations on a great program.

Dr. Frampton:
Well, thank you.

Superintendent:
I am continually amazed at the wide variety of programs available in Jordan School District and the caring professionals who create those opportunities. Thanks to Dr. Frampton and his students for helping me get to know the Veterinary Science Program at JATC. More coming up. We'll have some advice for parents interested in programs for their teens at the JATC North. But first let's take a quick break.

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Superintendent:
Again in studio, we are privileged to have our CTE Director for Jordan School District, Jason Skidmore with us. Welcome Jason.

Jason:
Glad to be here. Glad to be back in studio again.

Superintendent:
Tell us tell us a little bit about JATC North. In another episode we looked at JTC South, but we've got two campuses with these great programs that prepare kids for a career coming right out of high school. Tell us about some of the programs in the Northeast Campus.

Jason:
Yeah. So I'm glad you were able to go by the North Campus and see the Veterinary Lab there. That campus was really designed with kind of a health science and engineering focus. So the Veterinary Science Program is as part of that. Some of the other programs that are available to students, there are Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assisting, Physical Therapy Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant. I have a CNA program as well as Engineering and Robotics Programming and Graphics and Visual Design.

Superintedent:
So there are a great number of offerings that we have for students across the District. And the unique thing about what you saw there and what you just mentioned is that these programs, we can't duplicate or replicate those and put them in every high school because of he specialized equipment, the specialized labs, and probably more specifically, the partnership that we have with our industry leaders.

Jason:
They're looking for a student that is trained and ready. They've received enough of a specific number of training hours, certifications, perhaps even college credit that are generated through these programs to prepare them for entry level positions in any of the careers that we just talked about. The beauty of this campus is the students as they start their career in seventh, eighth, ninth grade, as they worked through the high school, they're really developing a skill set that they can capitalize at either of the academies that you just mentioned.

Superintendent:
So when students graduate from the techs or from the tech programs, give us an idea of some of the college credits, or licenses that they may have. I visited the Pharmacy Tech Program, for example. They can be a Pharmacy Assistant, I think right out of school.

Jason:
Now, as soon as they graduate and turn 18, they can sit for their Board Certification and that is a National Board Certification. So we'll have students that it isn't the end for them. This could become a career that they could make good money and they can develop a skill. That's good for them. Many of the students are looking at these as opportunities. I'm going to go to medical school, for example. And so I take the Pharmacy Tech Program, I sit for the Certification and now I can work either on campus. We have students that work up at the University of Utah Hospital as Pharmacy Assistants while they're going to the U. They're making great money as well. So they're not getting into debt as much to help pay for their schooling. But it's a career related track that they can get on and off at anytime throughout their career.

Superintendent:
And you're on the Salt Lake Community College campus, so they can earn college credit as well in some of those courses.

Jason:
Yes. All of the courses offer some type of current credit. And the Biotechnology Program that is also available here, students can start as a high school student and they can transition right over to the Community College, into their college programs. They can do an entire Bachelors Degree with a partnership that we have with the Utah Valley University. They can stay right on that campus and do an entire Bachelor's Degree without leaving the valley, if that's the direction that they'd like to go. So we have some great partnerships that allow students to do that right on that campus.

Superintendent:
There are partnerships with businesses as well that want to hire these kids right out of the program. I remember going to an awards assembly at the Capitol where kids in the Biotech Program had a meet and greet with companies that wanted to hire them right there, on the spot, to keep working for their company, earn a salary and be paid to go to school.

Jason:
Correct.

Superintendent:
Well, that's a pretty good deal. Did we forget about that? You know, we look at the scholarships the students get upon graduation, these in essence are another way to fund education. These are scholarships.

Jason:
All of the students in all of the Health Science Programs will do a clinical experience of some kind. Almost every employer will watch. That's the time for a student to sell themselves. And those students get hired either right out of or right after those experiences, as you just mentioned, and most of those employers will provide some type of tuition reimbursement program. So you work for us full time or part time, and we'll pay for you. And there's this myth that employers won't send back, but almost every employer that we work with will send their employees back to school. If they're willing to do that and they'll pay for their tuition, even in our electrician program, you know, if you want to be an electrician, those companies will pay for you to go back to school, to get a Bachelors Degree, to get a Masters Degree, to move up in the world.

Superintendent:
Great opportunities, great opportunities. We're going to take a break and then we'll be right back with Director Jason Skidmore to talk more about CTE and the opportunities available at our two academies.

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Superintendent:
All right. We're back with Director Jason Skidmore from Jordan School District CTE programs. And we were just talking about the Biotech Program. I think that sometimes there's this idea that these tech programs are only for a certain type of student. But these programs are good, whether you're good with your hands, whether you're wanting to go into health services fields, there are just all kinds of different programs, regardless of what your aptitudes are. There's a CTE program for you, don't you think?

Jason:
Oh, definitely. And I think that's the beauty of the way these programs have been set up. There's the idea that a student can still participate in athletics and their sport events. They can be part of the drama and theater department because students that come to the academies and spend half of their day at the regular high school taking their academic courses and graduation requirements and fulfilling all of those things, as well as participating in any extracurricular the other half of the day. Whether it's the afternoon or the morning they come over to the Academy and they enroll in any of the programs that we just were talking about. Students can ride the bus right from their high school. It'll bring them right to the center then returns them at the end of the day. If the students want to drive, they have that ability to do so. They can park on the campus. We're really set up to be all inclusive for any student, regardless of their skill level, abilities, career interests and there shouldn't be any limitations because we provide that transportation from the home high school to the center. Go to the website to get more information about being a student at jordantech.org.

Superintendent:
Okay. So they visit the website, get information. Parents, don't wait for an open house. Contact the school, stop by, take a look at the programs. There is an open house in the spring, but just set up a time.

Superintendent::
Is that right?

Jason:
Definitely. Anytime somebody wants to come over, we have staff onsite that can show them through. And one of the things we want to do is to get kids excited so they can make plans on how they can make this kind of program work for them.

Superintendent:
So well, we're very proud of these programs as a District.

Jason:
I'm personally very proud of these programs and I would just encourage students and parents to take a look because it doesn't have to be a lifelong career for it to be worth the time. You take four of your eight classes over there. You have certification to be able to do a job that will pay more through school, or while you pursue other interests. And it can be a career or it can be just something that's next, or you can just follow an interest. It's a great way to do that in a very meaningful way. So definitely, door is open, you step forward and you move forward. A door is gonna open somewhere because you meet somebody that you may have never met before.

Superintendent:
Great. Dynamite. We'll be right back in just a few minutes with TwoTruths and a Lie with Jason Skidmore, a little tradition that we have here on the Supercase, but right now we're going to take a break. Join us again in just a moment.

Advertisement:
If you ever feel like you need just a little extra support in your life, maybe it's time to visit the Jordan Family Education Center. The Jordan Family Education Center is there for you and your family. The Center, located inside River's edge school, provide support services and classes for families and students in Jordan school district free of charge classes like blues busters for children who are sad or worried. Let's talk a preteen communication class for parents and teens or superhero social skills, a class that helps children enhance their social skills. The Jordan family education center also offers short-term counseling and all services are provided by the district school, psychologists and counselors for information about classes and counseling call (801) 565-7442.

(21:10):
And we're back with Jason Skidmore, CTE Director for Jordan school district. And we have been playing Two Truths and a Lie at the end of each Supercast. It's your chance to lie to the Superintendent. Mr. Skidmore has been with us on one other episode, so he already lied to me and I think it's my turn to lie to him this time. So I'm going to do Two Truths and a Lie coming at you.

Jason:
Let's bring it.

Superintendent:
You ready?

Jason:
Yep. Let's do it.

Superintendent:
All right. I gotta think this through for a second here. What's it going to be? What's it going to be all right. Every member of my family was born in a different state. I once met Dolly Parton and I had a small role in a movie, small role in a movie.

Jason:
I'm thinking that's the lie because I don't..... wait, was it Peter Pan you were in?

Superintendent:
Well, I have the youthful look of Peter Pan.

Jason:
Certainly, I better go with every member of your family was born in a different state.

Superintendent:
Well, Mr. Skidmore, both of your guesses were wrong. I was born in Seattle Washington. My wife was born in California. I have a son that was born in Texas and a son that was born in Utah. So we were all four born in different States. I did play a very small part, little speaking role in Three O'Clock High. That was filmed in Ogden. When I was in high school, I auditioned and got to be in the movie. So then, I never met Dolly Parton. I've never even seen her in concert, but I'd like to. I have one 45 of her's.

Jason:
That's it. But I knew you were an icon, that music is one of your passions because the passion you had.

Superintendent:
I've met a lot of other people just because I'm into that, but I have not met Dolly Parton's. All right. Well, thank you very much for being on the Supercast. It's good to be here and thanks for all the great work you do in CTE.

Jason:
Thank you.

Superintendent:
Take care. And everyone out there, remember education is the most important. We'll see you out there.

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